The Hershey Bears wrapped-up their three-game weekend set with a 5-1 loss to the Sound Tigers in Bridgeport Sunday afternoon.
The Bears are back in action Wednesday night when they visit the Wolf Pack in Hartford. Puck drop is set 7:00 PM.
Vitek Vanecek (15-8-2-1, 2.71 Goals-Against Average, .906 save percentage) started in goal for the visiting Bears. Christopher Gibson (16-9-4. 3.00 Goals-Against Average, .895) got the start between the pipes for the Sound Tigers. The starting forward lines and defensive para for the Bears:
Scratches: Kris Bindulis (upper-body) and Joey Leach (wrist injury – long-term) were the injury scratches. Connor Hobbs, Max Kammerer , Tobias Geisser, and Mason Mitchell were the healthy scratches.
The Bears found themselves down early when Bridgeport’s Michael Dal Colle scored at the 4:37 mark on assists Steve Bernier and Travis St. Denis for 17 of the season; the goal came on an early power play opportunity for the Sound Tigers after Hershey’s Nathan Walker took an interference penalty. The Bears’ bench was hit with a too many men penalty at the 4:37 mark but managed to kill off the subsequent power play. Former Bear Chris Bourque knotted his 13th of the 2018-19 campaign late in the period at the 16:41 mark to give the Sound Tigers a commanding 2-0 lead. Despite two late power play opportunities of their own, the Chocolate and White were unable to get on the board. They headed into the first intermission down 2-0 on the scoreboard and 11-8 in shots.
The Bears and Sound Tigers started the second frame on a chippy note, with Liam O’Brien and Seth Helgeson dropping the gloves 3:38 into the period. Just minutes later, the Bears found themselves in a 3-0 hole when Bridgeport’s Matt Lorito potted his second of the season on assists from Tanner Fritz and Bernier to give the Sound Tigers a dominating 3-0 lead early in the second frame at the 7:15 mark. The Chocolate and White found themselves in more hot water when first Ryan Sproul then Jayson Megna were called for slashing and tripping penalties, respectively at the 8:07 and 9:30 marks. The Sound Tigers would make the Bears pay dearly for their infractions, as St. Denis scored his 13th of the season on assists from Dal Colle and Mitchell Vande Sompel at the 10:42 mark to widen Bridgeport’s lead to 4-0. The Bears were given a late power play opportunity (their third) when Lorito was called for tripping at the 16:55 mark, but failed to convert. The Bears headed into the second intermission down by a wide margin and 17-14 in shots.
The Bears’ tensions flared to start the final frame of play, as Riley Barber, who entered this game coming off a hat trick in the Bears’ 11th straight win, dropped the gloves with Chris Casto just 1:22 into the third period. The Bears received their fourth power play opportunity just under halfway through the period when Bridgeport’s John Stevens was called for hooking, but again failed to yield anything on the mna-advantage. Both Bears’ defenseman Colby Williams and Bridgeport’s Steve Bernier tallied his 18th of the season at the 14:18 mark, and after video review, the Tigers’ fifth goal of the game was official, putting the Chocolate and White in a deep, unescapable 5-0 hole late in the period. Bourque was called for roughing at the 15:44 mark to give the Bears a chance to get on the board, which they failed to do. Jusso Ikonen finally put the Bears on board at the 19:14 mark on a power play goal, on assists from Shane Gersich and Garrett Pilon, but it was little too late. The Bears’ 11-game win streak and franchise-record 16-game point streak ended in the 5-0 whitewashing, as the Bears failed to yield hardly offense, finishing the game 1-6 on the power play and tied in the shot department, 26-26
- The AHL box score is here.
By Michael Fleetwood
SCENES FROM BRIDGEPORT